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D53 Havelteberg



Saving Hunebed D53

In 1945, during World War II, D53 Havelte—the second largest hunebed in the Netherlands after D27 Borger—faced iminent destruction. The occupying German authorities had earmarked an area close by as the site for a new airfield, and considered that the proximity of this huge monument would simply draw attention to the airfield and act as a marker for allied bombing missions.

Fortunately, professor Albert van Giffen was able to strike a deal whereby the hunebed was dismantled and its 50 or so boulders stored in a six metre deep pit nearby. The smaller D54 Havelte was left standing, but was camouflaged beneath a hill of sand.

Immediately after the war, the components of D53 were dug up again, and by the end of 1949 the task of reconstructing the passage grave was under way, based on detailed drawings and photographs made by Van Giffen during his 1918 survey of the monument. By early 1950, just three months later, the hunebed was fully restored on its site, as if it had never been removed.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
20th October 2013ce
Edited 10th February 2017ce

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